It’s took a while but finally, Fiorentina have found a right back that has made the position his own. That man is the six foot three, Serbian international Nikola Milenkovic!
When Milenkovic signed for Fiorentina, little was known about the then 19 year old. He was brought in for around four million euros which remains a bargain. He was initially brought in to play at center back which is still his natural position. His ability to look so natural at right back has been outstanding at it’s credit to Stefano Pioli and his backroom staff who have guided his career so far.
Pioli and Corvino rate him so highly that the club has turned down a €40 bid from an unnamed club. This just shows how bigger impression he’s made in such a short time.
Fiorentina President Mario Cognigni had this to say about Milenkovic:
“This is a young player we want to keep absolutely, as evidenced by our refusal of a 40 million euro bid received last summer. We want to grow further keeping our best footballers close.”
The Serbian giant played sixteen games last year in a fine debut campaign. This season he’s included a new dimension to his game- he’s now added goals. Including an absolute screamer against Chievo to kick off the season and a key headed goal against Spal.
Nikola Milenkovic goal for Fiorentina against Chievo— Football Goals (@FootbaIIGoaIs) August 27, 2018
Fiorentina have had a curse with right backs: Vincent Laurini, Bruno Gaspar and Gilberto have tried and all failed. Not since Lorenzo De Silvestri have the club had a permanent right back. While the Serb isn’t the most attacking of full backs he is still a threat from attacking set pieces. Most notably he’s a fine defender, while his future may lie in the heart of the defence he’s doing a hell of a job in his secondary role.
Coming off the back of his Serie A debut year, he was called up to the Serbia national squad for the World Cup. For a 20-year-old you’d expect him on the bench for the tournament to be a learning experience for such a young player. Milenkovic started all three of Serbia’s games in the tournament, which saw them depart at the group stage. The experience of playing against some of the worlds best in Neymar and Philippe Coutinho will have done him the world of good. It was brilliant to see to Serb represent his country and Fiorentina on the biggest stage.
Unless you’re one of the top three teams in the world, you're going to be suspect of teams trying to poach your best players. Sadly, Fiorentina have a bit of experience with this cough** Juventus cough**. Manchester United and Manchester City have been credited with an interest, but, after speaking with Tuttosport he seems to see Fiorentina as the club for him. He’s also been compared to former Inter and Man United defender Nemanja Vidic, while that’s high praise Milenkovic isn’t letting the pressure get to him.
“I’ve got my feet on the ground, believe in professionalism and am focused only on improving every day, glad to wear the Viola jersey.
“Fiorentina are the ideal club for a young player to grow up and I am very satisfied with my choice to play here. If they were to offer me a new contract, we could talk about it.”
If he continues playing at a high standard it will be hard for the club to keep him, but at this moment time he’s a Viola player and hopefully for at least a few years more we can see the best of the Serbian in Florence.